Foretales – Review
Follow Genre: narrative, Deckbuilding
Developer: Alkemi
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested On: PC

Foretales – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Good ideas and execution
Bad: Maps are repeated a bit too much
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

A little while back, a game with an interesting and unique take on the deckbuilder genre appeared. Combining said genre with an emphasis on story and utilizing cards to progress it, Foretales was a stand-out game whose preview showed promise. Now, a few months later, the full game has been released. Does it hold up to this promise?

Story

Foretales’ story follows Volepain, a small-time thief working alongside his friend Léo to steal a mysterious lyre from a noble in the city. However, upon taking the instrument, Volepain starts experiencing visions of upcoming catastrophes and passes out. Waking up to find Léo has been captured by the guards, Volepain sets out to prevent as many of his visions as possible, rescuing his friend and meeting new teammates along the way.

Each of the game’s characters is unique in their own right, with different personalities and motivations to drive them forward. Furthering this, the game contains a plethora of banter for different situations that vary depending on the party composition, adding a great deal of character to all of the team members. Alongside this, Foretales’ story is also altered depending on which scenarios the player tackles, which may lead to other paths closing or opening.

Graphics

As expected, the game’s graphics mostly consist of detailed illustrations for both cards and cutscenes. Depicting the world with great amounts of charm, these illustrations flesh out the environments where the adventures take place by matching their themes to a tee. That said, these environments aren’t particularly varied, with each segment of the game reutilizing a handful of the same ones over and over for its missions.

Sound

Foretales’ sound design is also rather good, featuring an enjoyable soundtrack that matches the medieval theme of the game. The sound effects are also decent. Besides this, the game also features voice acting in the form of the narrator, who appears during cutscenes and who doesn’t hesitate to spout quips after gameplay events.

Gameplay

As previously stated, Foretales belongs to the deckbuilding genre. The game’s take on the formula consists of players having a set of actions per character which they may draw from the deck, which they may then use to interact with the world, comprised of location cards. For example, Volepain may use his ability to steal in order to get money from a merchant or Léo may sniff out some food. However, this doesn’t apply to every card, in which case using an action will simply draw the next location. Alongside these two types of cards, a third one in the shape of chasers exists in some of the scenarios. This last deck represents how many enemies are currently chasing the party, with the possibility that they may appear at any given location.

Should a character run out of actions to take, players also have several options at their disposal. Assuming the matter is a poor draw, active cards can be consumed to select new ones from the character deck, while if the hand is empty, food may be consumed to replenish some of the deck. Alongside this, the rest mechanic is also available, restoring a number of cards for all of the characters in the party, although this sometimes triggers a secondary effect such as bringing along a merchant or a patrol.

Besides these mechanics, players also have access to a slew of other resources. These mainly include the currencies of food, money, fame, and “grim”, as well as any collected items or followers. Each of the currencies can be utilized in different scenarios to achieve certain goals such as bribing guards, scaring off bandits, and more. Sometimes, the story will require an amount of a specific currency or a unique item in order to progress, making the player rely on the characters’ abilities to obtain them.

These aforementioned resources can also be employed in combat, both in aggressive and pacifist ways. Items such as Molotov cocktails or followers may damage enemies, while currencies can be used to buy them off. The overall battle system relies on a mechanic labeled “Morale”, a point value that diminishes whenever an enemy is removed from the battle, be it by paying them off or killing them. Once morale reaches 0, the battle ends, with the approach often affecting the story.

As previously mentioned in the graphics section, Foretales has a tendency to repeat maps. This is also true from a gameplay perspective, with location cards reappearing over and over. What this entails is that after interacting with a type of map once, further uses of the same type lose impact. Upon learning which abilities interact with the locations, players can simply speed through a map with that previous knowledge, removing some of the game’s depth.

Conclusion

Foretales is a very unique game with good ideas and an overall pretty good execution. Players who enjoy choose-your-own-adventure stories will definitely find something enjoyable here. The game’s barrier to entry is also rather low, being generally rather welcoming for any type of player as long as they are interested in the gameplay. Sold for $/€19,99/£15.49, the game is decently priced for the amount of content offered.

Personal Opinion

“I quite enjoyed Foretales, even if playing through the early section soon after covering it for preview was a bit of a slog. The game has pretty good ideas and is overall enjoyable, with no particular flaws to speak of. Overall, the only thing that peeved me sometimes was the futility of stacking resources, since they cannot be carried between scenarios and often go unused before being lost. Other than that, the game is an easy recommendation for almost anyone looking for a simple and entertaining experience.”

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